[This article is reprinted with permission from the January 2008 issue of www.commentarymagazine.com]
Last fall, to mark the 60th year of national independence, the government of India and the Confederation of Indian Industry launched a public-relations blitz in New York to coincide with the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations. Glitzy society dinners, corporate powwows, giant screens in Times Square, and colorful advertisements at bus shelters and atop taxis flaunted the emblems of the new India: skinny supermodels, well-heeled shoppers, and hi-tech entrepreneurs.
It seems only yesterday that India was more likely to be associated with images of snake charmers in teeming bazaars and mendicants in squalid cities. If the old India brought to mind the leathern visage of Mother Teresa, for the new India it is the perfectly groomed Aishwarya Rai, a former Miss World. A country that once attracted Western charities and dharma bums now beckons to CEO’s hoping to shore up the bottom line.
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